No one look directly at the good news lest we run the risk of scaring it away, but the price of coffee on the commodities market just made a very large leap. On Monday, the price jumped up to $1.39/lb, which was a near 7% increase, the largest of such since 2015.
Per CNBC, this new price point is a three-year high and constitutes an overall 38% increase in 2019.
But before we go popping champagne bottles and toast to the futures, this increase isn’t due to any sort of change in mindset about moral or ethical buying practices or to ensure producers are paid enough for their crop to remain a viable revenue stream (and not abandoned in favor of something actually profitable), it’s the same old shit: simple supply and demand. As we reported earlier this year, Brazil, the largest coffee producer in the world, is running out of coffee and it is this deficit that is driving up the price. After last year’s bumper crop, production in Brazil (as well as other South and Latin American countries) this year has seen a dip thanks to decreased rainfall.
According to CNBC, the “Latest data from [the Intercontinental Exchange] showed inventories of Brazilian coffee in its warehouses dropped to only 975 bags by Monday, compared to 2 million bags in total.” The director of trading at Comexim USA Rodrigo Costa states:
The demand has stayed quite strong. People had gotten too relaxed thinking the market would stay low for a long time. The consumption seems to be very healthy and that created a bit of anxiety in the market.
Not to be that guy and poo poo the ostensibly good news—which this price increase most certainly is—but the price of coffee approaching $1.40/lb, over a dollar below the break even point per the SCA, should be anything but good news. Were it not for the price hovering under a dollar for not insignificant portions of 2019, we would decry $1.40 as an immorally low price, which it is! But because of where the price has been in the bizarro world we live in, $1.40 is almost worth celebrating. Almost.
If this upward trend continues, we can get to that $2.50 mark. But here’s the thing: we won’t. So long as the price of coffee is tied to the panic level of some suit on the trading floor and not the real, actual value of it or its cost of production, the price won’t ever get right. Short of a complete rethinking of how the market interacts with coffee production, this will just be a blip.
Unless we get creative. If panic is what these execs need to get the price of coffee to increase, maybe we run at them with a knife. Don't actually stab them or anything, but shake them to their hollow, amoral cores. Repeatedly and at random intervals. That should sufficiently panic the price right up.
Top image via Market Insider